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Kinnelhead, Craighoar Hill, Queensberry, near Beattock, Scotland.
[ 14.5 km] Thu 09 Aug 2012

NT 0330 0157
The forecast for clear skies hadnít reached Beattock when I got there. The drive along Crooked Road lived up to its name and at the end was a small parking area which had just enough room for one car as the rest had been filled with piles of stone for road construction, presumably somewhere up on the hills. The map doesnít show any footpaths in the area but path signposts were evident. I followed a private road towards Kinnelhead Farm and on the way saw a sign that indicated footpaths, erected by the Scottish Rights of Way Society, Edinburgh.

Kennel Water

The map showed an old site called Kinnelhead Tower but I couldnít see any sign of it. Through the farm the track continued up the valley (or should I say Glen?) by Kennel Water and I kept looking back for any sign of a tower, but I couldnít see any. I reached a substantial bungalow called Blairmack which seemed to have all facilities hooked up; power, telephone etc but no sign of any occupation.


The track became more substantial as it went through a gate and headed up onto higher ground. I followed it below a pine plantation then left the track to head directly up the hillside to the summit of Craighoar Hill. The summit gave excellent views all around but when I looking back to Kinnelhead I still couldnít see any sign of a tower.

Craighoar Hill cairn and wind turbines in the distance

The map shows quite a few ancient sites nearby such as a fort and Motte & Bailey but the extensive pine plantations seen to have covered everything. A complete lack of footpaths of any kind made the walking a bit more challenging than usual. Fortunately the ground was easy going over Harestanes Heights but then I had a wet, boggy and very rough crossing of Fortypenny Moss before getting to better ground on the north side of Queensberry.

Queensberry summit cairn

Queensberry summit cairn - wide view

It was a steady climb and the summit is marked with a very large cairn. The weather had started to improve and the cloud began to thin giving some nice views, even as far as the Solway Firth 37km (23miles) away. I had a clear view back to Kinnelhead and started on a direct line to it. The first part of the descent was steep but soon eased as I reached the wonderfully named Pot of Ae, which is nothing more than a small gate in a fence by the pine plantation.

Looking back to Harestanes Heights

With no path to follow I kept close to the north side of the plantation but still had to negotiate some boggy ground. Lochan Burn was small enough to hop across and then I came to the buildings of Lochanhead. It seemed similarly serviced as Blairmack but had signs of occupation with washing hanging out under a roof. There was no sign of anybody about. A good track took me back to Kinnelhead and on to the car. With the exception of a farm worker on a quad bike at Kinnelhead I hadnít seen anybody on the walk.